The WHO called for an “urgent” response from Europe to combat monkeypox

The WHO called for an “urgent” response from Europe to combat monkeypox

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Stock image of the World Health Organization logo at the entrance to the WHO building in Geneva, Switzerland (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File)

The World Health Organization (WHO) called this Friday to take “urgent” measures to contain the spread of monkeypox in Europe, where cases tripled in the last two weeks.

In a statement, the regional director of the health organization asked European countries to “Increase your efforts in the coming weeks and months to prevent monkeypox from spreading to a wider geographic area.”

“Urgent and coordinated action is imperative if we want to change the trend in the race against the spread of the disease,” said the director of WHO Europe, Hans Kluge.

According to the latest data from the UN body, Europe accounts for some 4,500 cases of monkeypox in this outbreak, three times as many as in mid-June.

That number corresponds to 90% of those registered worldwide since mid-May, when the disease, until then considered endemic in only about ten African countries, began to be reported in Europe.

Monkeypox, or seismic orthopoxvirus, it was identified in humans in 1970 and is considered less dangerous than smallpox, of the same family, eradicated in 1980.

A section of skin tissue, removed from a skin lesion of a monkey, which had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on the fourth day of development of a rash in 1968 ( CDC/Handout via REUTERS)
A section of skin tissue, removed from a skin lesion of a monkey, which had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on the fourth day of development of a rash in 1968 ( CDC/Handout via REUTERS)

On Saturday, WHO experts considered that the explosion of cases meant a health threat whose evolution was very worrying, but without reaching the state of global health emergency at the moment.

But despite that decision, “the rapid evolution and urgent nature of this event means that the committee [de expertos] will re-examine its position shortly,” WHO Europe said.

In Europe there are now 31 countries or territories that have reported cases of monkeypox.

Vaccine

The United Kingdom is the European country with the highest number of registered cases so far (1,076, according to the British authorities). They are followed by Germany (838), Spain (736), Portugal (365) and France (350), according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

London’s Chief Public Health Physician, Kevin Fenton on Thursday urged anyone with symptoms of monkeypox not to participate in the Pride parade. scheduled this weekend in the British capital.

99% of cases of this disease, which is transmitted by very close contact, It has currently been registered in men between the ages of 20 and 40 who mostly have sex with other men, according to the WHO.

A man receives the vaccine (REUTERS / Gavino Garay)
A man receives the vaccine (REUTERS / Gavino Garay)

The UN agency recommended that countries intensify their surveillance, especially the sequencing of the disease, and that equip themselves with the means to diagnose it and react quickly.

WHO also encouraged countries to launch communication campaigns targeting primarily affected groups and the general public.

“There is simply no room for passivity”Hans Kluge insisted.

On Friday, the Danish laboratory Bavarian Nordic, the only one that manufactures an approved vaccine specifically against monkeypox, announced a new delivery of 2.5 million doses to the United States.

This is added to a first order of half a million doses from the US authorities, a few weeks ago. The vaccine is sold in the United States under the name Jynneos, while in Europe it is called Imvanex.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Tuesday that it had started studying a vaccine against smallpox to extend its use against monkeypox.

The first symptoms can be fever, headache, back and muscle aches, chills, or tiredness. Skin lesions develop between the first and third day after the onset of symptoms.

It is generally benign and usually heals spontaneously after two or three weeks.

(With information from AFP)

Keep reading:

Monkeypox could also be transmitted through the air, like COVID-19
What are the two difficulties that the world will have to face to contain the outbreak of monkeypox
Why a misconception about transmission may favor the spread of monkeypox


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